Staff Update 11th June 2020


To:All Staff
From:Andrew Hulcoop
Date:11th June 2020

Return to work

The business has now been fully open for just over a week and whilst initially it felt strange for many of those returning to work, I think it’s now starting to feel more like the new norm and I’m generally very pleased with the way that people have adapted to the new way of doing things.

We continue to see increased traffic into the business and the phone lines have been extremely busy.

Our aftersales departments are all very busy and that is across the board with Service, Parts and Bodyshop all enjoying strong results.  Our rolling 10-day advance service bookings are now matching the pre lock down numbers and are gradually climbing towards the numbers that were enjoyed in the recall period of 2019.

Our retail sales volumes are also growing and last week we had an incredible week and sold 130 vehicles across the group with BMW, MINI & Motorrad all reporting excellent sales volumes. 

Whilst the run rates are all very encouraging what we don’t know is if this is a sign of what the future will bring or is this a blip and will it gradually fall back over the coming weeks? None of us know the answer to that question and I guess it’ll be a few months yet before we do.

One of the things that has inspired me during the last few weeks is just how much some of the team have wanted to help. The attitude of a lot of the team has been exemplary and I’ve heard many a story about toilets being cleaned, bins being emptied, floors being swept to name but a few and all of this from members of the Cotswold team and most of it without being asked.

Changes to Furlough

The Government has now announced that it’ll be making changes to the Job Retention Scheme with effect from the end of July. The detail of these changes is still to be finalised but what we know so far is that with effect from 1st August, the Government will continue to pay furloughed employees at the same 80% albeit we, the employer will be liable for the pension and NI contributions. This changes again on 1st September and the Government support drops from 80% to 70% and this further reduces to 60% on October 1st, with the employer liable to make up the difference. With effect from the end of October the job retention scheme ceases and there will be no further contribution to support employees who are not back at work.

The other change is that of employees returning on a part time basis from 1st July. We believe there will be Government support where we can allow employees to return on a part time basis with the Government picking up the hours not worked, this will be at the same % as listed above. This is still awaiting further clarification from the Government.

There have been a couple of queries regarding furlough pay and returning to work.  Historically we have paid bonus and overtime in arrears but the furlough scheme does not work in the same way. Whilst on furlough, the average bonus and overtime paid to you is in relation to the month it is paid, and not the previous month. The result of this means from the date you return to work you will not receive any bonus outside of your pay plan, so you may have a minimum of a month without bonus.

Treatment of Holidays

The following is an extract from a previous team note:

“We expect employees to take a paced approach to holidays, with a minimum of 10 days to be taken before the end of June each year, with a further 5 days booked to be taken during the remainder of the year. By the end of September, a minimum of 16 days must be taken and a total of 26 days need to be booked. The balance of holiday entitlement should be taken before the end of the calendar year as unused entitlement can-not be carried forward to the following year.

A maximum of 2 weeks holiday can be taken at any one time.

Those of you who are still furloughed at the end of June will be required to have had holidays in line with the handbook. Holidays taken during the furlough period will be paid at 100% and not 80%.

For those of you who had taken 10 days holiday prior to lock down, nothing has changed.

Those of you who have worked throughout the duration of the lockdown will be exempt from the 10 day ruling and will need to book remaining holiday through the normal channels.

Those of you who have fallen between any of the above will need to discuss on an individual basis with your line Manager and a form of pro rata entitlement will be applied.

All future holiday requests will be considered but the planning of this is imperative. With careful organisation there is more than enough time remaining this year for you all to get outstanding days booked but the business needs people in it to enable the efficient operation of it. Each department has a minimum amount of people that it needs and consideration of this will be a factor in granting any holiday requests. What I’m saying is don’t leave it until the last minute to request time off.”

Our stance on the above has not changed.

The Next Stage

Collectively the Management Board are extremely positive about the future and believe the levels of business that we will see in the period June – December will at worst match the same period last year. Our business plans and strategy for the remainder of the year are based on gradual improvement of all the measures that forced the country into lockdown.  We have learned a lot over the last few weeks and have had to change the way we do things in order to ensure we comply with the guidelines that have been laid out by the Government and NHE.

Some of the things that we’ve changed have shown that we can run the business more efficiently and our objective right from day one of lockdown was to protect the business. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t consider these efficiencies and inevitably there will be some changes as we focus on rebuilding the businesses financial sustainability. What we won’t do is to make any knee jerk reactions and any decisions that are made will only be implemented after due consideration. 

I will continue to update you on a frequent basis as to the recovery of the business.